Monday, February 14, 2005

Does D.C. Have a Noise Ordinance?

With mounting frustration, I issue this post to the Metropolitan Police Department's PSA 102 listserv:

Noise Ordinance?

First, thanks to the coordinators of this listserv for connecting the community and police on such important issues. I find it very informative. Now I hope it can point me in the right direction on a noise issue.

Does the District of Columbia have a noise ordinance, and who enforces it? Are neighborhood complaints considered when the District reviews certain permit applications? Here’s why.

Most every Saturday, a group that gathers to make speeches on the southeast corner of H and 8th Streets NE from about 2 p.m. until at least 5 or 6 p.m. and sometimes long after. They choose to use a microphone and amplifier, which projects LOUDLY and CLEARLY into my yard--so much so that I can hear their droning from INSIDE my house with the windows closed. I can’t even open my windows when the weather is nice.

Last fall, I personally asked them to please stop using the amplifier, but was rudely rebuffed. So, every Saturday for the past three months, my neighbors and I have followed the same routine and call 311. The police typically respond, but the results have been less than satisfactory. The officers my neighbor spoke with on Saturday (Feb.12) said they couldn’t do anything because the group had a permit.

While I personally find their messages to be offensive, I do believe in the freedom of speech. HOWEVER, I do not believe we must endure on (or inside) our own property someone’s loud ranting for three or four hours every Saturday afternoon.

My neighbors and I appreciate any action or answers to this plea for a little peace and quiet.

Sincerely,

David Klavitter
700 block of 8th St NE

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